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Transportation Company Recovers Stolen Art


Truckers and transportation industry workers rarely get any praise from anyone for the jobs they do, let alone from members of the art community. That all changed this week, when a British logistics company made the art find of the decade.

The stolen art was created by a Dutch artist named Karel Appel, and was valued at several hundred thousand dollars. The cache consisted of paintings, sketches and drawings made by Appel over the course of many years. While authorities searched museums, galleries and art dealerships around the world, Appel died in 2006. His estate had nearly given up hope that it would ever be found, even as the artwork’s value had begun to rise even more due to his death.

More than 400 stolen works were discovered in a UK warehouse by a logistics manager who was administering a newly acquired warehouse for their expanding business. The drawings and sketches disappeared in transit during an international exhibit in 2002.

While clearing out the old contents, staff had stumbled across eight boxes crammed with artworks. Once they had researched the name Karel Appel, whose notes and signatures appear on most of the works, the company began to realize the significance of their find.

The works were then sent to art experts and it turned out that the works were among the ˜most wanted’ of all stolen artworks “ a priority ranking on the Art Loss Register’s (ALR) computerized database.

The ALR then worked to negotiate a settlement with the logistics company over a period of 5 weeks to encourage them to release their claim to the artwork. The artist’s widow, Harriet Appel, has also added her seal of authenticity on the works, expressing that she was ˜extremely happy that the Karel Appel Foundation have recovered the lost drawings and am impressed by the successful and professional way in which this case was handled by the transportation industry workers.

So, on behalf of trucking and transportation workers around the world, CDLLife would like to say to the art aficionados – “You’re welcome.”


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